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Rising Fives


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This is a huge area of debate in our setting at the moment! We have a 4+ group but don't do anything too formal with them. I'm going to do a research project on worksheets in pre-school and allied to that I'm going to survey R/Y1 teachers about the skills they would like children to have developed by the time they join their classes.

 

I believe that the Foundation Stage should be seen as a distinct phase of our children's lives and we should resist too much pressure to 'get them ready' for school, however we do need to have an understanding of what follows on and do as much as we can to ease the transition as possible.

 

At present we offer 'extension' activities which are still based on the learning through play philosophy (and obviously younger children are welcome, too!).

 

Maz

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we have a sepatarte group each week. Both the children and parents have emphasied how much they love this. It is a small group of children who are going to school at the same time. Children feel very special and grown up and love talking about their approaching transition and their visits. It is a way of having a these children in together on the same day However our advisor told us it is frowned upon. If you do do theses groups what emphasis do you put on what the group is about?

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We have two 4+ sessions a week.

 

As we are on the same grounds as the primary school we take the opportunity of bringing these children to the main dining hall to eat their lunch. They get to see the 'big'children and its often very noisy and busy. Doesn't seem to faze them though.

 

We would also have P.E. sessions with them where they actually change into shorts and t-shirt. We only do the sticky kids stuff but its the changing of the clothes and being in the hall that excites them. Lots of them still need help with their clothes and I can't imagine what a reception teacher and one other adult manage with 30 children at P.E. times. :o

 

We don't do anything formal with them. Their activities are different, done under separate planning but the emphasis is still play, play, play.

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Your session dublinbay sound silmilar. We have strong links with the school and we are planning to get together a couple of times we visit them and they visit us. We too have PE sessions which they children enjoy and which supports them changing and looking after their clothing. As you say everything is done through play. It is justifying what i am doing. Has anyone questioned why you are doing it?

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Can contribute directly as I am a reception teacher but in my area we have a single intake in September and many of my class had their fourth birthday in the summer.

 

As a reception teacher what I want from my new intake are good personal and social skills more than anything. To be able to put on their own coat and to share are high on my list of priorities.

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It has been noticed how children's confidence has grown within this session, maybe due to parents supporting children in the run up to starting school as well as the children feeling important and positive about starting school .Our reception teacher has commented on this as well as staff and parents. I feel I am giving them an opportunity to see the transition as a positive step as well as build relationships with peers who they will be starting school with that they may not have played with before. (As children are all in normally on different days and times) Not all children go to the same school. All the children in are setting are seen as individuals and are special this is just an add on to boost all skills that are currently being worked on with the majority of the children being in or around the same developmental level.

Do any of your feeder pre schools have these sessions Marion? and do you see this as a positive thing?

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It's interesting - in my years of reception teaching invariably there was a period, often about 3 - 4 weeks in, when noticeably some children would wobble and find it all suddenly a bit off frankly that they had to come to school every day, all day. I always called this the "school is for life not just for christmas" syndrome. I think there can be such a big deal made about "going to big school" that sometimes this is what the children focus on most - it is a thing that will happen, with new clothes and everyone making a great big fuss of me (photos and the whole family getting involved etc etc) and I will be getting this level of attention because I'm "going to big School". So suddenly when the attention goes and noone seems to be as interested anymore they get the slump. I'm not suggesting for one minute that we don't do the before school transition stuff in trems of socks and shoes or visiting spaces that are new, but the whole "rite of passage" thing that it becomes can sometimes overshadow children's real fears and worries that aren't explored maybe before or after the event and can cause problems for children in their early time in school. SO how do you discuss with your children about their take on the whole thing? What do they think about it? What are they worried about? What are they looking forward to? What do they think happens in school - they may have heard allsorts from their older siblings for example!! How are the children's voices heard in this whole thing?

 

This kind of emotional wellbeing and PSE support would be my top priority for transition into a school based setting.

Cx

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I can totally see where you are coming from. However on talking to our feeder schools these are the sorts of questions and support we give as well as the teachers visiting us and we 'hot seat' for want of a better word. They can see them in own environment what they like to do who they mix within this group. Parents are very involved in this process and we ask them to consider the new things they buy, ie new lunch boxes can be tricky to open etc. I just wonder whether I should stop this additional session and just be a normal session? Any views greatly recieved.

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All the reception teachers at our local school wanted was the same as marion, plus, listening skills, the ability to follow simple instructions, and to have experienced lots of stuff. xD

 

I do kind of have an issue with us asking YR teachers what they want the children to be able to do though. Yes, help them know how to put their coats on, dress/undress for PE, follow simple instructions, etc, but if we go further than that I think we are in danger of starting the schooling of these children earlier and earlier.

That isnt directed at anyone at all, just a thought I had, that at the end of all this are some babies, who might not be truly ready for school even 1 or 2 years later. :(

 

Sorry to be such a party pooper, I dont like our children starting school at 4 years old and this kind of gets me on my high horse :o

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How refreshing Marion to hear your comment. I manage a small preschool (changed our name from playgroup) and the local schools in our area reflect your comment but it is so difficult when parents asked what work have their children completed, why cant they read or write their name etc. We have some parents who view us as a place to play and the big nurserys (no offence) to learn.

 

smiles

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Guest MaryEMac

We have a 'rising 5's ' session that we start after easter. In this session we try to extend on what they are already doing without the really young ones being there. We also have 4 year 5 children in for several sessions so that our children get to know a big kid for when they have to venture into the playground in September. In Sept. these year 5's now yr 6 act as playground buddies. When possible (as we are connected to the school) the reception teacher open's her doors and so do I, so that we have free flow from her area to playgroup. Out children aren't forced to go but they often just venture into the courtyard to play in the sand and have a peep into the classroom. Reception children can't usually wait to get into playgroup.

We also borrow some meal trays from the canteen and turn the role play area into a canteen and the year 5's explain about dinners, how to carry a tray carefully and what food is served. This year we hope to take the children in for lunch so that they can experience this with us. We raid the lost property box at school for school uniform for the dressing up.

We invite the headteacher in, (although she often pops in throughout the year), the reception teacher and her TA come in as well.

I suppose that basically we use our rising 5's session to gradually introduce them to school without all the fanfares.

 

Mary

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